SMS Albatross (1871)

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SMS Albatross
SMS Albatros (IZ 1872-109 n HPenner) .jpg
Ship data
flag German EmpireGerman Empire (Reichskriegsflagge) German Empire
Ship type Gunboat
class Albatross class
Shipyard Imperial Shipyard , Danzig
building-costs 762,000 marks
Launch March 11, 1871
Commissioning December 23, 1871
Whereabouts Stranded in March 1906
Ship dimensions and crew
56.95 m ( Lüa )
51.21 m ( KWL )
width 8.32 m
Draft Max. 3.75 m
displacement Construction: 713 t
Maximum: 786 t
crew 103 men
Machine system
machine 2 suitcase boiler
2 1-cyl steam engines
491 hp (361 kW)
10.5 kn (19 km / h)
propeller 1 double-leaf ∅ 3.14 m
Rigging and rigging
Rigging Schoonerbark
Number of masts 3
Sail area 710 m²
  • 2 × Rk 15.0 cm L / 22 (120 rounds)
  • 2 × Rk 12.0 cm L / 23 (180 shots)

SMS Albatross was a gunboat of the Imperial Navy .


The decision to build two large gunboats was made in 1869. During construction, the Albatross was referred to as a "replacement Crocodil", which probably meant the steam gunboat SMS Crocodil , which had been scrapped in 1867 without ever having been used. The Albatross , together with her sister ship Nautilus, was the first warship, the (Northern) German Navy , that was specially designed for use overseas, namely for use against pirates in the China Sea . The shallow draft of only 3.75 m should enable the pursuit of keelless, shallow pirates junk in the estuary of the great Chinese rivers. The construction of the two ships was delayed by the Franco-German War . Originally classified as Avisos , the ships were ultimately used by the fleet as gunboats with wooden hulls in a Kraweel construction . When fully equipped, they displaced 786 t and were 56.95 m long and 8.32 m wide. They had an expansion steam engine for a speed of 10.5 knots and were rigged as barquentines with a sail area of ​​710 m². They were armed with two short 15 cm ring cannons and two 12 cm ring cannons.

Due to the political unrest in the West Indies at that time, however, it was decided to send the Albatross together with the covered corvette Elisabeth there as a station ship , as the shallow draft was also considered advantageous in the Caribbean.

Station ship in the West Indies

Together with the armored frigate Friedrich Carl , which, as the flagship of the Reichsgeschwader set up for this purpose, was supposed to sail around the world with the corvettes Vineta and Gazelle , the squadron left Kiel on October 12, 1872 . Corvette Captain Alfred Stenzel commanded the Albatross . However, after visiting Venezuela , Colombia and Haiti on March 10, 1873 in Havana because of the outbreak of the Third Carlist War through the establishment of the First Spanish Republic , the plans to circumnavigate the world were discarded and all ships except the Albatross were in service as a station ship for the West Indies Station arrived, were ordered back to Europe. The station work began on March 13, 1873, when Captain Werner, as head of the squadron in Havana, gave a farewell speech on the boat and dismissed Albatross from the squadron association.

In the following period, the Albatross initially received no instructions from the Admiralty and remained in Havana , where the arrival of the English and Spanish West India squadrons was documented and target practice was carried out at the fortress La Cabaña . Eventually Stenzel learned that the mail for the Albatross had been rerouted from New York to St. Thomas . So he was forced to go to the island, which was a Danish colony at the time . At the post office in St. Thomas, Stenzel found a requisition from the Dominican Republic for a revolution against President Buenaventura Báez . Stenzel followed suit and on May 13, 1873 the Albatross arrived in Puerto Plata . The port was considered an important export port and was used almost exclusively by German trading ships and offices for tobacco export . Stenzel could not identify a specific threat to foreigners in Puerto Plata and in the neighboring Monte Christi and so the Albatross sailed back via Puerto Plata to St. Thomas, where she arrived on May 30, 1873 and received further mail, which have now been five Was months old and had partly taken a detour via Rio de Janeiro .

From June to October 1873, Albatross was on the east coast of South America. On 24./25. In September 1873 the gunboat lay in Buenos Aires , where Stenzel visited the Minister- Resident Rudolf Friedrich Le Maistre . On the way back, they called at Montevideo and on October 3, 1873 the Brazilian island of St. Catharina . The next day Stenzel took the steam cutter to Desterro (now Florianópolis ), where he was received by the German residents. On October 6th, the gunboat lay in front of Itajahy ( Itajaí ) at the mouth of the Rio Itajahy, which turned out to be navigable and enabled Stenzel to visit Blumenau 45 nautical miles inland by cutter . After a short stay at the Donna Francisca settlement, also predominantly inhabited by Germans , the boat entered Rio de Janeiro on October 10, 1873. After a return trip of several weeks and a short stay in St. Thomas, the Albatross reached Puerto Plata again on December 13, 1873, where the revolution was still ongoing. After a short visit there and in Santo Domingo , Stenzel still saw no threat to German interests and sailed towards Cuba . After a short stopover in Santiago de Cuba , where Stenzel wanted to fly the flag because of the "Virginius" affair , the Albatross finally returned to Havana.

In the last month before it was replaced by Augusta , the gunboat visited Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haïtien . In April 1874 the Albatross returned to Kiel.

Further missions

In May the Albatross was put back into service in order to intervene again with her sister ship Nautilus in the 3rd Carlist War on the Basque Atlantic coast and to prevent further attacks on resident Germans. Previously there was u. a. a former captain working as a journalist was shot dead by the Carlists on June 30th. The two gunboats left Kiel on August 8th, arrived in Santander on the 24th and then headed for the French border in order to prevent arms deliveries from there together with Spanish and British units. The ships were shot at by Carlist rifle fire on the way near Getaria and returned with cannon fire. In October the weather turned bad and the gunboats were stranded in Santander. However, the Foreign Office did not approve the withdrawal of the gunboats, which had long been demanded by the Navy , until mid-December, so that the Albatross did not start her journey home until December 19.

Shortly afterwards, a German merchant ship ran aground outside the Basque coastline, which was ruled by troops loyal to the government, and the ship and cargo were confiscated by Carlist officials. The imperial government responded with a plan to assemble strong naval forces in the region and called the Albatross and the Nautilus back to their previous positions. However, the Albatross did not receive the order to turn back until January 5, 1875, so that it did not reach Santander together with the West India stationary Augusta until January 29, 1875. The return march had been delayed in Devonport (naval base) due to necessary repairs to the hull and engine. On the 31st, the Nautilus returned to Santander. Spain paid adequate compensation for the German brig and its cargo, and the crisis was officially ended on April 28, 1875 by a solemn exchange of salutes with the three German ships. The Albatross moved back to Germany.

Further missions took the Albatross overseas. She was used as a station ship in the South Seas before she was replaced by the Nautilus in November 1879 . She was reclassified as a cruiser in 1884 and used, among other things, in the conflict over Samoa . In September and October 1885 she carried out numerous flag hoists in the Caroline Islands , which, after the settlement of the Carolines dispute, remained with Spain. From 1888 she was used as a survey ship.


On January 9, 1899, the Albatross was removed from the list of warships, sold and used up as a coal barge. In this role she was stranded in a storm in March 1906.

Web links


  • Gerhard Wiechmann: The Royal Prussian Navy in Latin America 1851 to 1867. An attempt at German gunboat policy , in: Sandra Carreras / Günther Maihold (ed.): Prussia and Latin America. In the field of tension between commerce, power and culture (Europa-Übersee vol. 12), Münster 2004, pp. 104–121, ISBN 3-8258-6306-9 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Gerhard Wiechmann: The Royal Prussian Navy in Latin America 1851 to 1867. An attempt at German gunboat policy , in: Sandra Carreras / Günther Maihold (eds.): Prussia and Latin America. In the field of tension between commerce, power and culture (Europa-Übersee vol. 12), Münster 2004, p. 104.
  2. ^ Gerhard Wiechmann: The Royal Prussian Navy in Latin America 1851 to 1867. An attempt at German gunboat policy , in: Sandra Carreras / Günther Maihold (eds.): Prussia and Latin America. In the field of tension between commerce, power and culture (Europa-Übersee vol. 12), Münster 2004, p. 107.
  3. Hildebrand et al. a .: The German Warships , Volume 1, p. 82
  4. Groener: All German Warships , p. 52
  5. Hildebrand et al. a., Volume 5, p. 11
  6. Thomas Morlang: Rebellion in the South Seas. Ch. Links Verlag, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-86153-604-8 , pp. 21-28.